By Dr. Tonya Cremin of Balanced Family Medicine
So many people are experiencing symptoms of stress, overwhelm, or even anxiety these days. The problem isn’t you! We all know these are unprecedented times…here are a few simple ways to help yourself feel a little better.
Make Yourself a Priority. Most of us are extremely busy during the normal course of our days! Taking care of family, home, and working or volunteer activities don’t leave much time for us to take care of ourselves. Focusing the vast majority of time caring for others can leave us feeling depleted, tired, weak, and stressed. But finding even just a few moments each day to relax, refocus and re-energize can often make all the difference. We wouldn’t expect our cars to run without gas in the tank, so why do we expect it of ourselves? Think about the things you enjoyed before all of your adult commitments – was it reading? Painting? Spending time in nature? Playing with your dog? Having coffee with a friend? The key is to schedule some of these into your day – even just 5 minutes can feel like a mini-vacation if you do an activity that replenishes your soul. Maybe you need to put a 10 minute walk around your garden or street after the kids get on the bus, or around campus after you park at work. Maybe keep some adult coloring books in your desk to grab for 10 minutes when you’re on a call or at lunch. Pick something simple, commit to it and you will see benefits in no time!
Relaxation techniques. Mental focus is what all relaxation techniques have in common. Meditation, yoga, guided imagery, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all techniques to help the mind focus away from stressful situations and events in our lives, allowing us to breath freely for a few moments and face our lives with a renewed sense of calm and peacefulness. Trying any one of these techniques may help reduce daily feelings of stress, anxiety and worry. The key is consistent practice. Find an approach you enjoy, and stick to it.
Proper Protein Balance. Our brains require a continuous supply of glucose in order to function properly. Low blood sugar causes symptoms of anxiety, shakiness, heart palpitations, and even sweating. Adding more fiber and protein to your diet may help you maintain more even energy levels, keep your blood sugar under more stable control, and reduce your feelings of anxiety on a day-to-day basis. Eating high protein, high fiber, low fat foods at meals and snacks will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. You may find just adding some high-protein granola or protein powder to your morning oatmeal or smoothie helps your mood throughout the entire day. In addition, choosing yogurt or a protein energy bar instead of sweets or chips for your afternoon snack may help as well.
Exercise. Did you know that regular exercise can be just as effective as medication or counselling to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression? Exercise increases natural endorphins, or “feel-good” hormones, and the levels of several other hormones in the body that affect mood, including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Walking has been found to help a variety of physical conditions, is inexpensive, and can be done anywhere, at any time. Make a walking date with a friend, your family, or alone, and you’ll get the benefits of social interaction, and nature, as well. Regular exercise may even help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and blood sugars, if you have diabetes. Try something simple, such as walking for about 30 minutes 3-5 days each week. If you only have time for a 5 minute walk, that’s ok! All that matters is that you just get moving.
You don’t have to live with those feelings of stress and anxiety. There are so many simple ways to feel better. If you need help, Dr. Tonya Cremin is a board-certified family physician in Monroe, CT, who can help you determine the best ways for you to feel better. Dr. Cremin focuses on natural approaches to healing, including lifestyle and nutrition changes, herbal and dietary supplements, acupuncture, biofeedback, and osteopathic treatment. Dr. Cremin spends time getting to know you to find the right path to healing for you.
To learn more about Dr. Cremin , see our website at balancefamilymed.com or give the office a call at 203-445-9060 .